After getting back from Kamakura, Joe and I took it easy. We woke up mid morning and went to the Emperor’s palace area by Tokyo station in Tokyo. Joe did suggest that the actual palace, elusive to Angela and me, was adjacent to the main grounds. Although there were no signs to this effect, there were a number of guards outside a long driveway, two things apparently associated with palaces. Since, I have no other idea where the palace is, I will join Joe’s reasoning. This park area, as Joe noted when we were there, is very reminiscent of central park in that it is surrounded by high-rise buildings, but the inside of park is very calm and green. It was still cold when we walked around the area, so the flowers and trees were not yet in bloom. Apparently when the flowers come out, a deluge of people descend on the parks. Also, because there is no prohibition against open containers (alcohol), people take packs of beer and lay out under the flowers till the sun goes down – quite a sight I am sure.
I wanted to take a moment and comment on the my uncanny ability to elicit “no photo” comments from Japanese people. On numerous occasions, I will see a Japanese man with a huge expensive digital camera taking dozens of pictures of temples, alters, flowers, etc. Agreeing that the surroundings are photo-worthy, I too pull out my tiny digital camera to take a couple pictures… and BAM there’s the little Japanese park attendant, or café employee, telling me not to take pictures. In classic Kaskel fashion, I try to reason with the person, explaining (in English) that other people were taking pictures too. The purpose and effect of this line of reasoning are the same as in the US. I feel better, and the person I’m trying to convince, has no idea what I’m talking about. Generally, I assume they are just making a suggestion, and I take a picture anyway – now, however, I rarely take a picture without a quick look around to see if I’m being watched.